How myTVS is reshaping the secondary market landscape

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G Srinivasa Raghavan is clearly a man in a hurry. As Managing Director of TVS Automotive Solutions, whose aftermarket brand, myTVS, is well known across the country, he is now keen to take the story to the next level.

The company’s digital arm, Ki Mobility Solutions, is an important part of this transition, while more recent initiatives include the launch of the super app myTVS Life360 to provide a one-stop solution for customers. As Raghavan says, India is basically a left-to-right distribution business model with huge middle layers and so the best bet was to disrupt the market.

“We realized that we had to develop a model specific to this country,” he adds. With the exception of North America, the aftermarket is a “do-it-for-me” market that is highly stratified and marked by “a lot of value depletion and inefficiency in stocks “. Also, there is way too much opacity because one layer doesn’t know the other.

Raghavan and his leadership team at myTVS knew all too well that major disruptions have happened largely thanks to people outside of the industry, especially tech startups. The other point to consider was whether the company should continue the ecosystem that included 500,000 garages, 40,000 distributors and 100,000 retailers.

Car management

“It was important for us to figure out what was the best way forward and we realized that technology played a big role,” says Raghavan. It was now increasingly evident that customers were using their cars more to spend time with their families on long journeys. It is during these times that his car must be taken care of when it comes to cleaning, washing, periodic maintenance or emergency assistance on the road.

“Managing a car is becoming a way of life and if companies like ours don’t grow with customers as service providers, you treat them like you’re servicing your car. So you have to settle in the mobile home of the customer to enjoy their trip,” continues Raghavan.

Essentially, the task is to ensure he has a hassle-free journey and that’s where the digital comes in. As he says, the digital journey is a competition between the incumbent embracing innovation and the innovator who adopts an incumbent. “It’s a race for the supply chain because you have to deliver something,” he adds.

According to him, myTVS has one of the best supply chains for auto parts with more than 80 warehouses that can respond to quick supplies. “Connecting the vehicle to the customer, connecting the customer to myTVS, connecting myTVS to the supplier and connecting the supplier to the global distribution system are the four principles. Today, the myTVS platform has over 40,000 entrepreneurs and we hope to reach 100,000 by 2025,” says Raghavan.

There are more than 85 suppliers on the platform to meet customer needs, as well as 28,000 garages and 20,000 retailers to provide parts and services. This makes the company the largest digital platform in the country, which is more importantly an India-specific model “accompanying entrepreneurs”.

When a customer moves away from the conventional dealer network, they expect standardization of service in terms of trained technicians and this is something myTVS goes the extra mile to provide. Unlike a dealership that caters to a single car brand, this is multiple brands.

“We have worked with our logistics players and developed an artificial intelligence platform called TVS Fit, which is a diagnostic cross for 44 models. So you diagnose, the error code then comes out and they know what needs to be done,” says Raghavan.

In the process, the same technician who handles a Maruti Suzuki model can also handle a Honda brand. The car health record is also detailed where the customer knows when the next service is due and it’s all part of the effort to provide customer convenience with a great app.

Secondary market footprint

Traditionally, the TVS brand has been associated with the south, but its aftermarket community is huge with a presence in Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Kashmir, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “Today we are a pan-Indian brand,” says Raghavan.

What is even more interesting is supplying parts to niche markets in the UK, Europe and more recently Africa. Similarly, for high-end parts, there is a direct connection to customers via a global platform to Africa, California, the Middle East and China with plans to launch in Japan very soon.

In service, the top priority is to go to countries like Malaysia and Indonesia that have a similar model like India before heading elsewhere. From Raghavan’s perspective, the challenge was to kick-start big-picture thinking within the company, which is why his leadership team is so diverse with people from Mercedes-Benz, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM, Wipro, Procter and Gamble, etc.

“We’re in the customer business and if you don’t think customer, we can’t build the platform. So we married the TVS domain with technicians and created a cross-functional leadership team,” he explains.

The used car sector is another strategic growth area and the company has established partnerships with players like Spinny. There are “thoughts being actively discussed” with used car players and the opportunities could be immense given that by the end of this fiscal year there will be 1,700 myTVS outlets nationwide.

“I think we are well placed to work with the used car players in terms of warranty, service and giving customers the confidence to buy a vehicle and that is the direction I think we are going. The customer need for low cost maintenance will increase and this is where a player like myTVS can add significant value,” says Raghavan.

While there are a handful of partnerships in place with automakers to provide network support, collaborations will intensify as the shift to a “highly digital world” occurs in the coming years. The customer of the future will not want to travel beyond 2-3 km and all service centers will have moved out of town.

“So the customer will come and ask me why do I have to drive 20 km to have my car serviced? Very soon, the lines will fade on the service side,” Raghavan said. This will intensify in the electrical realm where the battery will dominate the scenario. “So electricity will be the first disruptor to the traditional dealership model and it could also separate sales and service into two different paradigms,” he adds.

With seven automotive brands dominating 90% of the market, smaller players will need a network to build customer trust. “They will seek greater distribution of services and prefer to have myTVS as an alternative platform so they can compete with larger players at lower cost,” says Raghavan.

In short, this means there is a “very large cost model” available for smaller car manufacturers to work with myTVS and gain market share. “You can actually improve your competitive advantage,” he adds. According to him, there is a huge opportunity in India to play the game well as long as companies identify the right market segments.

For example, Isuzu Motors India and myTVS recently inaugurated a myTVS facility in Mumbai to provide multi-brand services. Here, Isuzu Partner Dealers who have additional capacity can choose to become franchisees of myTVS providing dedicated and shared services and bays within their existing Isuzu service premises.

The installation of myTVS, although in the premises of the Isuzu workshop, will have dedicated facilities for other brands. The predominant part of the workshop will, however, continue to operate as an exclusive Isuzu facility. According to a press release, this will bring efficiencies and better viability for the reseller while providing greater reach for myTVS.

The myTVS facility will offer services such as general maintenance and body/accident repairs for multi-brand vehicles other than Isuzu vehicles. It aims to provide services to customers like fast service, fast washing as well as cashless insurance at reasonable costs. The identified workforce is trained with a particular focus on skills inventory, gap analysis and global repairs for multi-brand service.

Connected infrastructure

As Raghavan explains, the entire automotive industry is not a whole sum. Two- and three-wheelers exhibit different dynamics, as do cars and utility vehicles, both in the light-duty and heavy-duty segments. This is also true for fuels, especially with all the changes going on.

“So whether it’s electrification or gasification – and I’m using the word carefully here because the focus is on CNG and LNG – it’s very important for us to look at all segments vehicles,” says Raghavan. With startups now also part of the electric ecosystem, it will be a “very interesting game” in the future.

The company believes it can provide connected infrastructure such as telematics for two-wheelers, home service, deliveries, etc. “We actually started working with two particular startups for their full life cycle and there are eight signed into the platform including four of two-wheelers, one LCV and one passenger car while working with one another ecosystem of startups for CNG conversion kits for buses, we also do R&D with them on the LNG side,” adds Raghavan.

As technology is also changing very rapidly, the company has set up a knowledge center in Sriperumbudur near Chennai while collaborating with universities and startup ecosystems. There is one in progress with a startup in Israel on ADAS. “A few of them have done some brilliant artificial intelligence on ADAS. They can actually predict crashes in a fraction of a second and those are the areas we are focusing on in Israel,” he says.

Research is also ongoing in areas such as the reuse of lubricants, for example. “A very good reprocessed lubricant can be used in many ways and can even be 80 to 90% as good as a new lubricant. It’s just unfortunate that we don’t have an organized channel in our country. Why can’t we be like Coke or Pepsi by selling lubricants? asks Raghavan.

Likewise, the company believes that a lot can also be done with batteries and tires when it comes to sustainability. “Our dream is what the IT industry has done in India and we want myTVS to do something similar for the automotive aftermarket in that country,” he concludes.





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